Wright way takes Honiton 2nds top of the table

PUBLISHED: 17:43 07 August 2011 | UPDATED: 09:50 10 August 2011

Feniton 2nds fielding against Honiton 2nds. Picture by Terry Ife ref mhsp 4839-23-11TI

Feniton 2nds fielding against Honiton 2nds. Picture by Terry Ife ref mhsp 4839-23-11TI

Archant

Honiton II climbed to the top of the Francis Clark Devon League D Division East table with a single wicket win in a thrilling derby at Feniton II.

Second placed Honiton trolled over to Feniton for their ante-antepenultimate league game, with a nigh-on 100% record of close losses in recent years to one of their two big bogey teams.

With regular keeper and leading run scorer Strawbridge absent due to work commitments (a situation which very few of his colleagues would have laid hard currency on) Groves was pressed into service with the gloves as Honiton took the field, opening up with Brinsford and Wright.

Salter escaped early on, as square leg failed to hold on to a chance offered from a Brinsford full toss, but the same bowler made certain almost immediately by gaining an LBW decision to make it 15-1. Wright was a touch unfortunate to come away empty handed, but Dixon’s eventful first over produced nine runs and the wicket of the dangerous S. Devine with a Jaffa which hit the top of off stump.

Brinsford gave way to Pulman who’s initial match rustiness turned into a full-on Scott Boswell-esque attack of the yips, as 22 wides and a total of 35 runs came from a single over. Feniton proceeded to 100-2 from 20 overs, with several lucky escapes on the way. Dixon continued to rough up the batsmen and Hill dried up the runs bowling round the wicket as only another 20 came from the next 10 overs. Groves flung himself around behind the stumps like a demon and the Honiton ground fielding kept the pressure on.

Birthday boy Kelly bowled an intelligent first spell, being unlucky not to come away with some reward, having exhibited a consistently excellent length. Hill picked up

a “Hartnoll shin egg” from a failed caught and bowled chance, but it was the return of Brinsford that finally heralded activity in the wickets column as the batsmen began to press for runs.

Brinsford (4-44) disposed of the splendid Devine for 79 and Bright for 71 and had Lewis held by the dependable Groves off a skyed top edge and Feniton closed on 237-5.

With a run rate of 5.17 required, Honiton had their work cut out and things didn’t get any easier when Beighton (3) was out in the fourth over essaying a David Gower patented upper cut and edging to the keeper. Groves was yorked second ball and Dixon (6) was caught behind off Clarke in the sixth over to leave Honiton miles behind the run rate and hopelessly ahead of the wicket rate.

Then things began to change. Lapping took 14 (18 with byes) from a single Lewis over. Honiton lost Conway (2) to the kind of slower ball that arrives by second class post, delivered in a box marked “I am a slower ball”, but Sluman took up the challenge with a series of exquisitely timed drives to push the score along.

The pair took the score to 84, when Lapping’s brutal innings of 38 (7 fours, 1 six) was curtailed by a full straight delivery. Pulman started cautiously, but singles were there for the taking and with Sluman nearing a half century the two of them clawed Honiton kicking and screaming back into the game.

Sluman fell for a fine 44 (7 fours, 1 six) to make it 138-6 and put Feniton firmly back in charge. But Brinsford dazzled the opposition with his trousers tucked into his luminous socks, smacking the ball into the deep for plenty of twos and threes, while Pulman began to find his range, bringing up his 50 with a six off Bright in an over which shipped 17 runs.

Brinsford, given a life by the keeper finally went for 31 and when Pulman (64 - five fours two sixes) departed with the job not yet completed, Honiton still needed 28 from 8 overs with two wickets left. The assured Wright hit a boundary, while the skittish Kelly (6) committed hara-kiri by attempting an insane second run to mid wicket with 12 still required from seven overs.

The valiant Wright was accompanied by the tenacious Hill, winding the fast men up to the point where they began to overstretch and bowl several wides. Thanks to the lower middle order’s earlier onslaught, the pair were able to pick and choose which balls to hit and which to leave. With seven required, Wright survived a scare when short mid wicket spilled a meaty thump, but compensated with a Chinese cut for four.

The desperate bowlers ran out of ideas and ultimately runs as Wright smacked Lewis through mid on for two to win the game by one wicket and end unbeaten on 17, at last putting to rest the Feniton monkey in Honiton’s wrench.

Honiton took 17 points from the win and find themselves in top spot with all to play for, Whimple having taken a mauling at the hands of North Devon.

Honiton Skipper Andrew Lapping was pleased with the win. He said: “This game showed how we have improved in the last few weeks and everyone is now contributing, this is a game that in the first half of the season we possibly would of lost. It’s important that we keep this run going and keep looking at one game at a time, it’s nice to be top but we need someone to us a favour as we still have to miss a game in the last four weeks, having said that we just need to take care of our games and see what happens in the end.”


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